Almost nothing on the internet makes sense, and with the rise of memes still going strong, it still doesn’t. I never understood why viral videos go viral, and it seems like many people who make viral videos also don’t know exactly how. I remember first watching the numa numa video many years ago and not knowing at all why it was so addictive to watch, but good god my thirst was insatiable. Now viral videos are a dime a dozen. Whether it’s Casey Neistat snowboarding through NYC, or one of the many Harlem Shake videos, viral videos can be random or follow a trend. It never really made sense to me why these trends popped up, like why the film Who Killed Captain Alex, happened to find it’s way into Gregzilla’s rendition of Knuckles from Sonic, on a popular game, VRChat, and through some unholy matrimony Ugandan Knuckles was born. This is what humanity has used the superhighway of infinite information for… If aliens are out there, they’ve turned away. And I don’t blame them.
Fortunately, Kevin Alloca has gone back, studied the viral video trends, and written a book on it. Unfortunately, NPR’s article on the book is not super indepth (probably for spoiler reasons) as to why any of these trends begin in the first place. As Alloca says “we’re living in the least predictable, most confounding era in the history of human expression.” He argues that these viral videos are always important because they give us something to bond over. And whether that is yelling “China is number one” in the spawn area of PUBG, or “spitting on the fake queen,” it really does bring a community together. Even though it may isolate some other ones.